Living solar oven

Published on May 5th, 2010 | by ziggy


How to Make Your Own Solar Cooker

solar oven

A solar oven

Cooking food requires valuable energy, whether you use a gas or electric range and oven, or a wood stove. And that energy can come at a high price, too. But there are cheaper ways to cook your food that require little beyond the light of the sun. You can save either burning wood or precious fossil fuels and money by building your very own cheap solar oven.

Solar cookers are simple boxes that collect the energy of the sun to cook food. Commercial sun ovens* can cost a couple hundred dollars, but you don’t have to pay lots of money to be able to harness the power of the sun to cook your dinner. You can make your own with this simple set of instructions.

In an afternoon, for $20 or less, and with little more than some cardboard boxes, tin foil, newspaper, and some glass, you can construct a solar cooker. Granted, it won’t be the swankiest solar box cooker on the block, but this model will give you an idea of what is possible, and it would make for a very valuable learning tool, too.

Solar ovens are obviously limited in their effectiveness, since it must be a sunny day to be able to use one, but they are fun and educational, and help to save energy by using a very renewable resource: the sunlight!

Want some ideas on what to cook in that solar oven? We’ve got a ton of cookbooks, as well as organic baking supplies, spices, herbs, and oils available in the Green Choices store.

Image credit: Flickr via RJL20

*Link to the sustainablog Green Choices store

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About the Author

I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at:

  • Becky

    This is awesome!

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  • Millenion

    i remember making something like this when i was a kid but now as nice as the one in the picture. the one i made as a kid didn’t really cook food it just made my food warmer, lol.

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  • Tom

    It is great to read about stuff like this , savinig energy thru solar there are so many different directions.


  • Tom

    I wonder if you could cook a roast and if so how long it would take?

  • Heather Stevens


    Thanks for such an inspiring article!

    Yep, to answer Tom’s question from my perspective, solar ovens can definitely do a roast! I live down in Australia and I just cooked a huge Christmas feast for all my family out of our solar oven – started a few days before with Christmas cakes, puddings and shortbreads, then on the day did a roast chicken, veggies and even the gravy. It all turned out beautifully, and we got to keep the heat out of the kitchen. Plus, it was such a great eco-novelty for the family, everyone was so amazed at how efficient it was.

    I love the idea of building your own, but I too, like Millenion only ggot my food warm, not cooking. So I bought a SunCook solar oven, and now am importing them from Europe into Australia.

    If you want to check out a video of us using the Sun Cook to make bread and cakes, or order one (we can arrange US shipping but it’s a bit expensive – mention this blog and we’ll come up with some discount!)

    Happy solar cooking! Thanks again for the awesome article

    Heather :)

  • How to make a solar oven

    I would like to recommend you also this very good webstie where you’ll find a lot of plans of self building solar ovens:

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